Arts & CultureCampus & City

International Week brings the laughs with She Said WHAT?

This I-Week event is aimed to be funny and forward thinking

International Week may be known for its keynotes and workshops, but this Friday the conference is bringing the laughs with She Said WHAT?, a night of clean comedy, cultural education, and gender empowerment.  

International Week — or I-Week for short — is a free-to-attend educational conference hosted annually by UAlberta International. The six-day conference customarily runs during the first week of February and features talks, workshops, and performances exploring solutions to the biggest challenges facing our world.

This year’s International Week is running from February 1 to 6, and like most other events, it has been moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic

UAlberta International Global Education Coordinator Carrie Malloy is confident the change in format won’t impact International Week’s ability to deliver on expectations. In fact, Malloy mentioned that the move online might even add to the conference’s international flavour.

“Because I-Week is online we’ve had the opportunity to be able to reach out to some partner universities and have some speakers from around the planet,” Malloy said. “Normally we [wouldn’t do that] for the Global Goals Talks — we would definitely bring in speakers from anywhere for our keynotes — but we can’t usually bring in 17 different people from around the world.”

Speakers at International Week 2021 hail from places as far as China, Germany, and Kenya, and as close as our own University of Alberta campus. The theme for the week is “for a better world,” and attendees will be able to watch 17-minute Global Goals Talks discussing the work being done to reach the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals before their 2030 deadline. 

Attendees can also let loose with She Said WHAT?, a comedy livestream happening this Friday, February 5 at 7 p.m. MST. The show is a collaboration between UAlberta International, the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation (ACGC), and The Grindstone Comedy Theatre. Hosted by Edmonton’s own Celeste Lampa, the show’s all-women BIPOC lineup includes comediennes Hoodo Hersi, Martha Chaves, and Stephanie Pangowish, as well as an American Sign Language interpreter.

“Who’s not going to love a night of comedy?” Malloy said. “We chose gender equality as our focus, and [we] chose an all-female lineup to highlight that.”

“We also chose these comediennes because they have some really funny material about what it means to be a woman, or what that means culturally,” Mallory continued.

Malloy emphasized the show’s compatibility with the United Nations’ fifth Sustainable Development Goal of gender equality, but also the ways that it fights back against comedy’s male-dominated landscape.

“At this point I see many women comedians, but you still see so many more men,” Malloy said. “I think it’s like any other profession where the time is coming.”

“Things are changing [and] ways of doing things are changing, so hopefully we see more and more women.”

Tickets for She Said WHAT? can be purchased for $10 through the ACGC. The ACGC is also providing a free option that can be accessed through the ticket link.

Students interested in attending International Week can find a full list of programming on their website

Tom Ndekezi

Tom Ndekezi is the The Gateway’s 2020-21 Arts and Culture Editor and a fifth-year Biological Sciences student. When he’s not busy learning about the brutalities of selection, Tom can be found obsessing over hip-hop, watching soccer, cooking Crohn’s-friendly foods and coming to grips with being left-handed in a right-handed world.

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